Calendar interviewing: a mixed methods device for a life course approach to migration
Life calendars are used in life course research to collect retrospective standardized data in various domains of individual lives (Axinn et al., 1999). In recent years, researchers have been focusing on improving the procedures and the quality of the data collected with life calendars (Belli et al., 2013; Belli \& Callegaro, 2009). Belli and collaborators have developed an approach that uses life calendars in interviews to stimulate the processes of retrieval of biographic information. These scholars suggested that, with this approach, life calendars could also be used for qualitative research. Following their lead, this paper presents a mixed methods approach to life calendars in a research project on immigration – the Calendar Interviewing Device (CID). The CID consists of a life calendar for characterizing trajectories and collecting life stories through open-ended interviews. This paper examines the process of interviewing. Interview transcripts were analyzed to put in evidence the ways the calendar has been used by the interviewees to build their life stories. The analysis also focuses on the strategies used by the participants to provide with precision the times and places of events in their lives. The use of the CID results in two types of data: (1) calendars containing standardized data; and (2) audio-recorded narratives for qualitative analysis. The two types of data can thus be analyzed separately or in combination, for example, on case studies.
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LIVES Working Papers
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